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Fetishes & Their Meanings

Armadillo - The keeper of the home: slow and sure

Badger - Aggressive and persistent; a healer

Bat -The guardian of the night

Bear - Represents strength & power, introspection, healing and the spiritual journey

Beaver A hard working builder;
attains a sense of achievement

Bobcat - Clairvoyant; knows secrets

Bison - Represents abundance; endurance

Butterfly - A transformer; has the ability to know or change the mind

Cornmaiden - A bringer of life; represents potential

Coyote - A master trickster, humorous, foolish

Crow - The Keeper of the sacred law

Deer - Embodies gentleness

Dog - A true friend; represents loyalty

Dolphin - Friendly, trusting and loyal

Duck - Holds the spirits of those who have
passed on

Eagle - Represents great integrity and a soaring
spirit; a teacher

Elk - Represents pacing and stamina

Fish - a purifier; able to hide emotions

Fox - Master of camouflage and protection

Frog - Bringer of rain, fertility, abundance

Hawk - Messenger of the gods

Horned Toad - Represents self reliance, longevity

Horse - swift, strong and healing

Hummingbird - A messenger; a stopper of time

Lizard - Agile & good at conversation; Represents patience and wisdom

Mole - The keeper of the underground; Represents awareness and grounding and has the ability to look inward

Moose - Headstrong, resolute; has longevity

Mountain Lion - A resourceful leader; also known to protect travelers on their journey

Mouse - Represents attention to detail; scrutiny

Otter Embodies humor curiosity & mischief

Owl - Protector of the home; has true
wisdom & sees what others cannot

Parrot - A symbol of the sun, it's colorful
plumage recalls the rainbow

Porcupine - Represents faith and trust

Quail - A sacred spirit; ceremonial; holy

Rabbit - Special guardian of women in childbirth; assures long life for children

Raccoon - Embodies shyness & resourcefulness

Ram - Self Worth

Raven - The magician, represents change in
consciousness; A healer

Seal - Family oriented; possesses power in numbers

Skunk - Conspicuous & intense

Snake - Symbolizes life, death, rebirth; Guardian of the water; Believed to have curative powers and is also associated with lightening; The Snake is very important in Zuni ceremonies

Spider - Embodies creative patterns of life

Squirrel - Represents natural intelligence;
a saver who protects its reserve

Turkey Smart, elusive, festive

Turtle - Symbol of Mother Earth & longevity

Wolf - Teacher, pathfinder, protector, hunter

About Fetishes

American Indians have used fetishes throughout recorded history; particularly the Indians of the Southwest. A fetish is an object that is believed to have magical powers

Fetishes can be of any form or material. Regardless of the form or material, however, a fetish has one paramount purpose: to assist man against any real or potential problems. The problems can be those of the mind, body or the universe.

An individual, family, clan, kiva society or entire tribe can own a fetish, Regardless of the ownership, the care of a fetish is always the responsibility of an individual. Special care must be taken to see that the fetish is properly feed, admired and cared for. Fetishes are believed to feed on cornmeal while they are kept in a special pot or pouch. Ground turquoise is often mixed with this cornmeal.

A fetish is made and “decorated” with turquoise, arrowheads, coral and stone as a means of adornment. The better the treatment a fetish receives, the better performance it it likely to provide.

Most fetishes depict animals, usually animals of prey. They are acknowledged as the most powerful providers in life, so they are likewise accepted as having the greatest fetish powers. Generally admired for their strong hearts, it is widely believed that these animals are dominant and therefore, survivors. They are the hunters rather than the hunted.

The Zuni Indians of New Mexico believe strongly in six cardinal fetishes. Each is symbolic of a direction and has a specific color, which is synonymous with direction. The guardian fetish of the North is the Mountain Lion (yellow). The South is the Badger (red), the West is the Bear (blue), and the East is the Wolf (white). Additionally the Mole is the guardian of the Nadir, or inner earth (black) and the Eagle is the guardian of Zepath (all colored bird forms). The power and strength of a fetish is obtained by placing the nostrils of the fetish to one’s mouth and taking deep breaths.